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Seminal recordings 6

Ravel’s style is quite unique: under a rhythmical strictness lingers some of the most fiery and emotional music. It’s neither impressionistic nor romantic. That interplay between discipline and harmonic poetry was interpreted in an exemplary way by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. Among his most prized achievements is the recording with the London Symphony orchestra and Sergiu […]

Joseph Marx ( 1892-1964 )

Not related to Karl Marx but one of the nearly forgotten composers, who unashamedly continued to compose in a romantic style, ignoring the musical developments around him. I fell in love with his symphonic tone poems first, particularly the “Nature Trilogie”, some of almost overbearingly romantic gesture and never ending stream of Wagnerian/Strauss style harmonies. […]

Forgotten pianists 7

Totally forgotten in our days is Ekaterina Novitskaja, who won the Queen Elizabeth Competition at age 17 in 1968. She supposedly gave up concertising in the 1990ies and lives somewhere in Belgium with her family. There are some stunning recordings to be found on you tube: excellent Skrjabin and Mozart plus some wonderful French repertoire […]

Notturno D 879

One of Schubert’s greatest chamber music works, very difficult to bring off. The Suk Trio though has all the qualities: a warm sound, an unerring sense for the right tempo and that special Schubert pulse. And as a bonus it comes here with beautiful LP sound. Music does not get any better than this.

Seminal recordings 5

My favourite Mozart concerto and my favourite Mozart pianist. ( And Bach and Beethoven… ). Friedrich Gulda had a wonderful spontaneous and infectious way with Mozart. And particularly the so called “Coronation” Concerto KV 537 ( late Mozart, so holy territory ! ) needs a near childlike simplicity and of course fearless technique, and quite […]

Seminal recordings 4

Wilhelm Backhaus was one of the 20th century’s greatest pianists. One of his many achievements was the first complete recording of all Chopin Etudes in 1928. Superior to many later versions ( I have enclosed a comparison of Opus 10/2 with Pollini ), Backhaus was a representative of that Golden Age of piano playing, where […]

Seminal recordings 3

In his earlier career Austrian pianist Joerg Demus was one of the great Bach players. ( 1950ies, not so much later versions ). Elusive recordings issued on the Westminster and Remington labels in the late 1950ies. Here are some tasters of this exceptional Bach playing.

Seminal recordings 2

Wilhelm Kempff’s Schumann Davidsbuendler Taenze film from the Besancon Festival 1963 shows amazing poetry, a beautiful and multi layered sound, the perfect balancing of Schumann’s extremes ( between humour, intimacy and near slience ). He seems in his own league when it comes to this composer. And the longer the piece goes on the more […]

Seminal recordings 1

There is one exceptional recording of the Mazurkas that has set a benchmark for Chopin interpretation. This version is hardly known though and needs to be promoted. Spontaneity, colours, depth and beauty of sound seem second to none to me. Here is that priceless gem. I recommend downloading from you tube and saving it.